JIS News

It was standing room only on Thursday night (June 25) at the Montego Bay Civic Centre in Sam Sharpe Square St. James, as Montegonians and residents from other nearby towns and villages, turned out in their numbers to the third in a series of town hall meetings being hosted by Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding. Hundreds waited outside the centre to get the chance to see and talk directly with their Prime Minister, other Ministers, Hon. Dr Horace Chang, Hon. Audley Shaw, Hon. Edmund Bartlett and MPs.
Mr. Golding told the residents that one of the reasons for his town hall series is that “we make the mistake sometimes of becoming so engrossed in the problems we are trying to solve, that we march off thinking that we are doing the right thing. Sometimes when we look back, we realise that the people are not marching behind us. We have to stop to talk to them, to let them know where we are going, to share the vision and the challenges we have to face and to make sure they are with us”. The PM said Jamaicans are clear about the struggles and difficulties facing economies across the world. He said that while we are not doing as well as some countries, we were not doing as badly as many others , but that we face many major problems. “We run an economy that has never really been well grounded or has never had sufficient solidity in its plans to provide the jobs and the standard of living our people deserve”, Mr. Golding noted. He said the country had depended heavily on a few industries such as bauxite alumina. Jamaica usually earns from the industry, $1.5billion in export earnings each year but this year the country will only be earning $500 million because the global market is so depressed that many alumina plants have had to close. Three of the four plants in Jamaica have been shut down.
Mr. Golding said the remittances will likely be down by between $300-$ 400-Million less than they were last year. The one industry that is managing to hold its own is tourism. The Prime Minister paid tribute to Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett and as well as the workers providing services in the resorts. He said the success we have been able to achieve in this industry despite the challenging economic times, is due to the service offered by the workers in the industry.
The Prime Minister’s Town Hall series has already been held in Mandeville Manchester and Portmore St. Catherine. The next in the series is scheduled for Ocho Rios, St Ann next month.

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